After many months of waiting, Via Aquarium is now open! There has been buzz about bringing an aquarium to the Albany area for years, and ViaPort, the parent company of Via Aquarium, has stepped up to the plate. Here’s what you can expect from the very first aquarium in the Capital Region!
On Saturday, November 12th, a ribbon cutting ceremony and VIP tour for invited guests was held at 11am; the aquarium opened to the public at 1pm.
As the invited guests arrived there was live music, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres – the presentation even opened with some jokes from local comedian Tony Rogers.
Those who spoke at the ceremony included Alan Fantizi, PR and Marketing Manager of Via Aquarium; David Gross, Director of Via Aquarium; Cenk Hayirlioglu, who oversees US operations for ViaPort; and local community leaders like Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
The aquarium has about 2,500 fish and animals, spanning 250 species, all displayed in 37 different exhibits.
As guests make their way through the aquarium, the self-guided tour begins with the fresh water fish. Starting out with a local species, one of the first displays to be seen contains Adirondack brook, brown, and tiger trout.
Further into the aquarium many other species can be seen, including but not limited to tropical fish, clownfish, cuttlefish, paddlefish, jellyfish, lionfish, rainbowfish, spiny puffer fish, scorpionfish, butterfly fish, Koi fish, and a 10 pound lobster.
Everyone will fully enjoy going through the two tunnel tanks! A two-inch glass separates aquarium-goers from dozens of fish, including small sharks.
Interactive and Educational Exhibits
Part of what makes Via Aquarium stand out from other aquariums are the interactive exhibits and the strong focus on education. Guests are able to touch animals like stingrays, horseshoes crabs, and starfish, which really allows for a special, hands-on experience.
One of the several interactive exhibits is the ultra fun trash stomping – images of pieces of garbage floating through animals in the water is projected onto the floor, and guests are able to stomp on the trash to save the fish – kids loved this one!
Guests can also see many educational displays along the walls, such as a depiction of how the water cycle works, and to-scale images of different species of sharks, showing just how long they are.
Hours & Prices
The hours are 10am to 9pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 11am to 6pm on Sundays. No tickets are sold after 7:30pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 4:30pm on Sundays, to allow guests enough time to explore the aquarium.
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults: $16 on weekdays, $19 on weekends
- Children 4 to 17: $10
- Children 3 and under: free
- Seniors 62+, first responders, and college students with ID: $14 on weekdays, $17 on weekends
There are also further options for annual passes.
Via Aquarium is located at ViaPort Rotterdam, the former location of the Rotterdam Square Mall, at 93 West Campbell Road in Schenectady.
Via Aquarium is owned by ViaPort, who also owns Via Entertainment next to the aquarium. Via Entertainment opened earlier this year as the first part of a massive effort to revitalize the dying Rotterdam Square Mall; the aquarium was the second element of this ambitious project.
The opening was delayed a few times, but we’re certainly glad they took their time getting the aquarium absolutely perfect! Be sure to head over to Via Aquarium as soon you can – you won’t want to miss out on this new and incredibly exciting attraction!